Discover how green we Brits 'really' are

25 November 2016 | OVO Energy

Brits keen to go green

Are we a nation of lean, green energy-saving machines? Or worryingly unconcerned energy wasters?

We conducted a UK-wide ‘keen to go green’ survey to find out more about the habits and attitudes that we, as a nation, have towards energy. The results? Well if we summed them up in the words of a classic school teacher’s report, we’ve ‘shown some improvement, but could do better’.

Here are the key findings, plus tips on how we can ALL up our green game.

We have good intentions

If you believe people are basically ‘good’, then you won’t be surprised to learn that most adults feel it’s important to make their homes more environmentally friendly.  A third of people surveyed went on to say that they already do whatever they can to be greener around the home - using energy saving light bulbs, fitting double glazing and insulating their lofts. 

Londoners and young people get a special mention for being the most likely to pay more to help save the planet. But men get a ticking off being twice as likely as women to slack off when it comes to saving energy.

We’re prickly about costs

While our ‘Brits keen to go green survey’ found that Brits are generally keen to save energy at home, we’re less enthusiastic when we have to pay for it. Just one in five people said they’d pay more for their energy if it meant being more environmentally friendly. And even then they’d only accept an average increase of 17% on their current bill. 

There’s also a certain ‘lack of action’ among those who understand the need to be greener...but don’t do anything about it. Four in ten people felt they could ‘do more’ to save energy. And six out of ten admitted that the impact of their energy usage is probably harmful to the environment. Yikes.

...we’re also pretty wasteful 

Top energy wasting habits

Our study revealed that over half the population don’t do enough to save energy at home, while 46% of us are unaware of which appliances cost the most to run. 

  • 40% of us leave our phones and laptops charging overnight. 
  • 31% say they leave their device plugged in after it’s fully charged.
  • of people leave their TV on standby. 
  • 30% leave the tap running while they’re brushing their teeth.
Energy wasting habits in the bathroom

And while we’re on the topic of ‘bathroom habits’, we found that - on average - people in the UK take a 19 minute bath twice a week. The cost of a single bath is between 31p and 89p to fill each time, which means we waste a whopping £300 million every year. 

So what can we do about it?

1. Start by breaking these top 10 bad habits:

1. Leaving phone, laptop or tablet on charge overnight
2. Leaving the TV on standby when not in the house
3. Leaving the TV on standby overnight
4. Leaving the phone, laptop, tablet charging once it has reached 100%
5. Leaving the tap running while brushing teeth
6. Taking baths instead of showers
7. Leaving radiators on in empty rooms
8. Leaving lights on in empty rooms
9. Boiling a full kettle for one cup of tea or coffee
10. Switching the oven on to a higher temperature than needed making it heat up faster

2. Try these magical devices

Energy saving devices

Shockingly, over six million UK adults don’t use any energy saving devices at home.
To buck that trend and give the planet a little love, it only takes a few of these:

  • Double glazing
  • Energy saving lightbulbs
  • Insulation
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Letterbox covers
  • Smart meters
  • Timer plug sockets

3. Look into solar panels

Solar panels infographic

The sun doesn’t only power our good moods, it can also boil kettles and heat our homes. Of all the people we surveyed, just 6% have solar panels on their home. 19% said they’re planning to instal them in the near future, but 75% of people show no interest in having them fitted. Of those, a third blame it on cost. They’re not cheap to instal, but they save money, energy and our planet in the long run. So a pretty sound investment if you think about it.

4. Take responsibility for your usage (and don't blame others ;-)

Brits blame their partner for energy wastage

According to a quarter of people, it’s not them but their partner who’s the biggest energy user (cue: mass eye-rolling).

In fact it’s all too easy to play the blame game. And when we’re not waggling the finger at our partners, we’re blaming our busy lifestyles for getting in the way of being greener. The reality is that we’re all busy. But deep down we know that a simple switch to an energy supplier like OVO, coupled with a few daily changes of habit can make a whole world of difference.

*Survey based on 2,000 UK adults, including 500 Scottish residents.

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